Be Part and Parcel of the Solution

Shimeles Ololo Sinkie

Shimeles Ololo Sinkie is an instructor and the Department Head of the Health Service Management at Jimma University in Ethiopia. He teaches, conducts research, advises students, and supports students completing community service projects.

“Jimma University has a motto that says, we are in the community!” explains Shimeles, and that motto reflects the university’s “community-based education philosophy.”

As Shimeles puts it, faculty are “always with the students, supervising, coaching, mentoring… so that the students are ready to serve the community whether it is in a town, or in the rural areas.” Jimma University’s community-based education philosophy is a relatively unique approach that prioritizes practical experience.

As an expert in health service management, Shimeles understands the need for management skills, but before participating in the LMG Program, he underestimated the importance of leadership and governance skills. First a participant and now a trainer in the LMG Program, Shimeles became an outspoken advocate for integrating leadership development into the pre-service curriculum. “The leadership training was very interesting… and it focuses on long-term impacts.”

Working with the USAID-funded Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) Project, Shimeles and other stakeholders across Ethiopia collaborated on the development of a pre-service training curriculum to ensure that all pre-service medical students are equipped with the leadership skills they will need to face challenges and overcome them.

One practical way that Jimma University is promoting youth leadership is through their Team Training Program. As part of the community-based education philosophy, students work in teams to plan and implement community service projects.

The importance of these practical leadership experiences for undergraduate and graduate students is not lost on Shimeles, who explains something he learned during the LMG Program, “We are part and parcel of the problem, and we should be part and parcel of the solution.” By integrating essential leadership, management, and governance skills training into pre-service curriculums, we can ensure that the next generation of health professionals are ready to face any challenge on Day 1.

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